LINCOLN, Neb. – After 12 years and three elections, city of Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler sat down with 1011 NOW on Monday to reflect on his time in office.
Beutler, who was first elected in 2007, touched on a variety of subjects in the 1-on-1 interview, including the legacy he hopes to leave behind.
"I hope the biggest thing that comes out of my time is continued confidence in the community,” Beutler said. “The economic development, the building, the creation of jobs, all of those things have been outstanding in the last few years."
While Beutler noted he is proud of what he accomplished, he acknowledged his time in office was not without its challenges.
But from those challenges, Beutler said compromises were reached, and progress was made.
"The latest example is the funding relating to the sales tax that was put before the people that they approved of,” he said. “It was a huge amount of money. It was a very necessary amount of money to keep our roads and improve our roads. We came to some compromises and agreements and the whole city will benefit."
And as for his biggest accomplishment?
"Certainly Pinnacle Bank Arena and the development of the West Haymarket Area over the last twelve years have been stunning additions to the city."
Another challenge Beutler faced throughout his tenure as mayor was substantial population growth, with Lincoln expanding on multiple fronts.
But “being aware of problems as they come along” was the key to keeping the city healthy in the midst of the growth, Beutler said.
But with a changing economic landscape, adjustments will need to continue to be made.
“The other thing that's happening is with the loss of local retail, one of the things we should do is look at all these malls, small and big, and figure out how to re-invent them with affordable housing, high-end housing, mixed-uses of one sort or another," Beutler explained.
On May 7, Lincoln voters selected Leirion Gaylor Baird as Beutler’s successor. The current city councilwoman will be sworn into office on May 20, 2019.
But as the Beutler era comes to an end, the long-time mayor believes the city is in more-than-capable hands moving forward.
"The city of Lincoln definitely is in good hands. She's inclusive. I think she has all the right qualities to take us forward into the future and frankly doing a lot of things better than I did them," Beutler said.